What a waste. Humans have produced 18.2 trillion pounds of plastics since large-scale production began in the early 1950s and we’ve put most of it in the trash.
That weight is equivalent to 1 billion elephants or 25,000 Empire State Buildings. Nearly 80% of that plastic now resides in landfills or the natural environment, according to a study published Wednesday.And we’re just getting started: Scientists say that by 2050, another 26.5 trillion pounds will be produced worldwide.
“Most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense, so the plastic waste humans have generated could be with us for hundreds or even thousands of years,” said Jenna Jambeck, study co-author and associate professor of engineering at the University of Georgia.
“You can’t go anywhere without finding plastic waste in our environment, including our oceans,” she said.